The story shared by the Washington Post and the Guardian of how the US security services enjoy unhindered access to the internet activity of the customers of the world's largest internet corporations should surprise no one. If you weren't already aware that every single word you type on that keyboard is known to some security official somewhere you should be. US security officials have responded by calling the reports 'irresponsible' - not untrue, note - and claiming that the US's security has been damaged by disclosure that the government is snooping on everyone's email.
It's not just the septics, of course. Our own MPs, both Tory and Labour, are pushing for even greater access to our private information under a new 'snooper's charter' but at the same time seeking to restrict radically our access to information on their own pay and expenses, and our ability (through Leveson) to share information on their badger-watching activities or to share photographs they have posted of themselves in their underwear or dressed in rubber or leather harness.
And at a time when we've lost not only Tom Sharpe but Oliver Bernard, the last and most human of the three brothers. I remember too fondly an afternoon session in the French back in the 90s with Dan Farson, Sandy Fawkes and both Bruce and Oliver - in reality the invective was poison - all of whom are now dead. I mention this only because they shared a common loathing and mistrust for anyone who presumed to know better than they what was good for them - including the presumptive and impertinent interference by the government in our private affairs. Still, the revelation that it is the US that is the world's first Police State fills me with hope; if there's a people anywhere in the world who will not stand for this, it's the Americans.